Summary: How can I be saved? The Early Church provides us with a lesson.
I. Forgiveness of Sin is Promised by God.
Repent therefore and return that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you. Vs. 19, 20
Last week we began to take a look at Peter’s second sermon, this one following the healing of the lame man outside of the gate Beautiful at the Temple in Jerusalem. We pick up tonight with Peter telling them they need to repent so their sins will be wiped away, forgiven. One translation says, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.
Those who gathered outside the Temple would remember words from the prophet Isaiah which were spoken by the rabbis. The prophet, speaking the words of God, states in Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.
Paul wrote in Romans 6:4-5 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For it we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
It is not just that repentance would bring a personal forgiveness of sin, but that it contained within it a promise of blessing, a time of refreshing. The word for time used here in the Greek is Kairos, which is a fixed time. It has been set, it is predetermined. This could well point toward the millennial kingdom. These people could use such a time of refreshing, under the oppression of Rome, but not the first time the Jewish people have felt the oppression of a foreign power. Their history is one of persecution. They had suffered under the Egyptians, they had known the times of captivity by Babylon. And as we know, it was not an oppression which had been completed. In recent history, they had suffered under persecution from Hitler, and under communism, and with battles from Arab adversaries. Then, and now, they could use a time of refreshing, and Peter told them then, and we can tell them now, it comes from repenting for the forgiveness of sin. Not just for them. That same repentance is necessary for us, for all of mankind, in order to move into the refreshing, the blessing from God.
They looked to the day of peace. Again, in Isaiah, 11:6-10 we read of this future:
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.
There is a responsibility on our shoulders for the second coming of Christ. We have been instructed to evangelize the world. We know the Lord will come when everyone has heard, and there are many efforts which have taken place to reach out to all the people groups of the world, but I believe we have a responsibility to not just reach out to the groups, but we need to begin with fresh vision and fire to reach out to the people who are around us. Daily more people are born who have not had a witness, who have not heard to repent and receive the refreshing of the Lord which is promised of God. This should cause us to take an inward look, and ask, what are we doing outwardly to make His Kingdom come. Are we a conduit for the blessing of God, or a dam holding back the reservoir of blessing?
II. Jesus, the Messiah, will return again.
And that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Vs. 20, 21
For the disciples, when they followed Christ, they were looking for Jesus to establish His Kingdom while He was with them. It has been speculated that Judas betrayed Jesus in hopes that He would act immediately to establish the Kingdom, which we know He did not. This was probably a question those hearing Peter now had running through their mind. If Jesus is the Messiah, where is He? Peter points out, this is not something to be unexpected, we have heard it from the mouths of the holy prophets in prior times, ancient times. The prophet Joel, speaking the word of God, said in Joel 2:25, Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust. There is a time of restoration which is coming.